Lucania | Yukon - Attempt at A Frigid First
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
An attempt at a first winter ascent of Canada's 3rd tallest mountain
Lonnie Dupre along with climbing teammate Pascale Marceau are launching Lucania - A Frigid First; an attempt at the first winter ascent of Mount Lucania (5226m / 17,146ft).
Nestled deep in the Yukon’s Kluane National Park and Reserve, this seldom-visited peak has never been climbed in the winter. The two-person team, Marceau and Dupre, will attempt to be the first to do so. Marceau would be one of few or possibly the first female, if successful, to summit a subarctic, high altitude mountain in the winter.
Mt. Lucania lies 65km north of its famous neighbour, Mt. Logan - Canada’s tallest mountain. Due to its remoteness, this lesser-known peak is rarely climbed. The duo can expect minus 50-degree temperatures, gale-force winds, limited daylight, and multi-day storms. The attempt at Mt. Lucania’s first winter ascent will be a test of human will, mountaineering skills and years of polar expedition experience.
“We aim to experience this area at a time of year when no one else has. Through captivating imagery and story-telling, our goal is to inspire others to follow their own dreams of adventure and to gain an appreciation for Canada’s wild places.”
Turning Around :(
Despite being well-positioned within 4,000 ft of the summit stocked with 14 days of food and fuel, having double and triple carried 9 km up and down on a ridge with a total of 8,000 ft gain and loss, the team had to call it quits.
"The decision to turn around was easy - we had no choice. If we pushed on, we would succumb to hypothermia."
It became impossible to stay warm at night after their sleeping system progressively iced up, leaving the team dangerously vulnerable to freezing. After a big meal, snow fort creation, clear skies and settled down winds, the biting cold still lingered in their tent. They made it all the way back to base camp early yesterday.
13 days of isolation in these regal surroundings will teach you a thing or two. The team will return from this rarely explored landscape having learned about the St. Elias Mountains and the Kluane National Park and Reserve. They now know the raw weather first hand, the frozen topography and the true physical scale of the Range. They hope to be back for a second attempt with these learnings, tweaked equipment and gear systems.